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tv   Most Influential  MSNBC  December 23, 2012 3:00am-4:00am PST

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the end result was not what orosco hoped for. >> what the parole office recommended isf. i'm not too happy with. >> rather than reinstate the parole, the board decided to send him to a halfway house that provide drug counseling to parole violators for six months to one year. the hearing did however allow orosco to continue an important illusion. >> i am very happy that my mother didn't find out today that i was using pills. that will break her heart. she just wants to believe that i am doing good.
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xxx welcome to a one-hour special we call "the most. i'm joe scarborough. >> i'm mika brzezinski. we had a poll to determine the most influential americans of 21st century so far. we have the results and will reveal them here on the show. >> later, we are going to bring out "morning joe's" willie geist and mike barnicle. they are going to give their two cents. that's going to be fine. some of you may be saying, isn't it a little premature to be doing a poll about the 21st century since we are only ten years into it. we say, lean forward. that's what we are going to do. we are going to find out who these influential americans in the 21st century are right now. >> willie, mike, joe, and i made
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our own personal picks of who we thought would be the ten most influential americans of the 21st century. we are going to show you how we did at the end of the show. we should point out, there are different things to different people. we asked some journalists, actors, and comedians to chime in on a variety of topics, and we're going to show you what they say throughout the show. but the first thing we asked them was, define the word "influence." >> let's talk about the word "influence." what does it mean? where does it come from? >> ask not what your country can do for you. >> "influence" is an interesting word. it can be used in many ways and can be defined in many ways. >> if you're influential, you are fundamentally changing how people in some way live their day-to-day lives. >> someone who is able to actually create movements. >> people care about what you
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do, what you think. it means you have a lot of power. >> you can be a bad influence or a good influence. >> you can either be a jedi or a sith. it can go either way. too geeky? >> influence. it's the power to affect people or events. comes from a latin root influentia meaning influx. ultimately from a verb influere, which means flow in. >> basically, it's the power you have to convince other people to do what you want to do. >> originally, it had to do with an ancient astrological belief that there was a kind of ethereal substance that would come down from the stars and flowing into our bodies and affecting our very fate. >> people can't ignore you. they can't escape you. freddy krueger is very influential. >> freddy krueger and warren buffett are at the top of our list. >> influential to me is somebody whose life adds up to a glory, not whose month does.
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>> if you sit with a group of women and "single ladies" comes on, they'll put their hands up. that's influence. >> how would you define influence? >> i think donald trump had it right. i learned in politics 101, influence and power is making other people do what you want them to do. now, it's not just in business. it's not just in politics. it's also in pop culture. and also with technology. think about how our lives have been changed over the past decade by people that ran computer companies. >> and i think in technology with all the choices we have out there and immediate reactions, there can be very strong negative influences as well. that our children are exposed to. >> no doubt about it. you know, what i can't wait. let's get into the poll right now. i want to see who's number 10. >> you want to see who's number 10? >> yes. >> you know what i'll do? i'll reveal number 10, 9, and 8. >> that is great. >> number 10 is colin powell, a man respected by both left and right. as former secretary of state from 2001 to 2005, he made the case for war against iraq, and later went against his own party to endorse barack obama for the
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presidency. number 9 is rush limbaugh, the ultraconservative radio personality is a hero of the right and can sway public opinion and policy. and number 8 is the late ted kennedy. he was the liberal lion of the senate and champion of health care reform. loved by the left and respected by the right. many believe his was the most important endorsement of barack obama's candidacy. >> isn't that fascinating? we had with colin powell at 10 a moderate, somebody seen as a moderate. rush limbaugh, somebody on the right. ted kennedy, somebody on the left. >> yeah, what do you think of ted kennedy, given the influence that he left, even after his passing? >> i think there's no doubt that ted kennedy obviously shaped the first part of this decade when he teamed up with george bush on education reform. but he was one of the most vocal critics of the iraq war and of course the legacy he left i think in the end may have helped to push health care over the top.
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>> colin powell, number 10 on the list, not surprising, though, that he's on the list. >> no, it's not surprising at all. here's a man that there are so few giants in washington, d.c. these days. colin powell is one of those few remaining giants not elected to office who can still pick up the phone, call somebody, and move mountains. he obviously is very reluctant to go to war in iraq but when colin powell decided to support the idea, he went to the u.n. and i think he made the big difference. >> also with the endorsement of barack obama he gave him the foreign policy cred he needed as a candidate who was running for president with that on his resume. >> no doubt about it. and then you go to the other side of the political aisle and rush limbaugh. here is a guy that helped elect a lot of republicans in 1994. he really i think as much as anybody helped create the new media environment that we find ourselves in right now. and he had a remarkable influence with a lot of tea party candidates who took over congress this year. >> the megaphone that he has, though, carries such a great responsibility, and there are so
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many voices out there, the path forward in terms of influence for someone like rush limbaugh is to probably try and stay true to what he believes given the money that can be made. >> he's making a lot of money. but the world has changed so dramatically. when rush limbaugh started this 20 years ago, he was alone. think about all the carbon copies that have followed limbaugh. the challenge for rush is to figure out how being the original to still break through with so many people like he has for 20 years. >> all right. coming up, more names from the top 10 influential americans. and we're going to be joined by willie geist and mike barnicle. [ male announcer ] when it comes to the financial obstacles military families face, we understand. at usaa, we know military life is different. we've been there.
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oprah winfrey is one of the most influential people in american history. >> she's a great woman. she, in my opinion, had a lot to do with the presidency of barack obama. >> she is somebody who is completely self-made. >> it can't hurt that she's on the cover of her own magazine every month, you know, just to remind people, hey, it's me again. and me again and me again. >> oprah says, hey, listen to dr. oz. and we do. listen to rachael ray. and we do. she's able to transfer her influence. >> authors want to be on her book list. performers like myself want to perform on her show. anybody would love a ringing endorsement from oprah winfrey. >> i personally saw the oprah effect because oprah winfrey featured my book on her show. there's no better way to start off a book tour. >> when she announced that she was stepping down, a shock went
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through the whole culture, what are we going to do every day at that time? >> where i live oprah is on at 4:00, but so is judge judy so i'm going to be okay. >> of course something new is coming with it. she's going to start her own cable network. so there's still going to be 24-hour oprah, basically. rush limbaugh has been a tremendously influential figure in our national political life since the '80s. here's a guy who's using the quintessential old medium, radio, in order to exercise tremendous influence in an internet age. >> he has 15 to 20 million listeners daily. that does not happen if you don't have people who share your ideology. >> unfortunately, he says things that just are not true. but people eat his stuff up. he has had not only an influence on the way people think about politics, but he's had a big influence on the republican party. >> he's the kind of person that you listen to him for five minutes and it makes sense and
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then you get to minute six and you're like oh, man, he's crazy. >> rush limbaugh is against gay marriage. he only believes in traditional marriage. and he's had, what is it, four of them now? but he's not totally homophobic because he had elton john sing at the last wedding. and i'm sure he'll have him sing at the next wedding too. >> bill o'reilly is a great american story. whatever else you think of him, here's a guy who went from tabloid television and then he went to fox news. >> i remember doing bill o'reilly's show before the advent of fox conservative news. he was very nice and kind of a hollywood entertainment guy. which is really weird. >> and then he used wit and a populist style to build an audience of literally millions. >> he reaches out there and appeals to kind of the unwashed masses who are upset that everyone's getting civil rights and this really ticks them off. >> those were some of the top names in media. and we already know that rush limbaugh made the list. we'll see if any of the others
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are in the top ten. now, as promised, we're joined by our friends, the very influential willie geist. >> this is big. >> yes. >> and the equally influential mike barnicle. >> mm-hmm. >> we've revealed 10, 9, and 8, mike, and we want to know first of all of course what you have to say about ted kennedy being on the list. >> well, it's interesting that he is on the list, especially at this time in our political lives in washington, driven by such polarization. because ted kennedy's influence was such that he could bring people from both sides of the aisle together on specific issues, something that seems not to be done a whole lot in washington today. and his influence, that kind of influence, i think is dearly missed in the political dialogue. >> how fascinating, though, ted kennedy, if you look at the bork hearings, if you look at what he said about george w. bush during the war, he can be as polarizing as anybody, and yet there was still the personal connection with his father and even with 43. they still remained friends
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through it all. >> before the war began in iraq, ted kennedy and george w. bush were quite close and worked together on education, joe. >> yeah. no doubt about it. in the beginning. willie. >> and a legacy with health care. >> and obviously you can't overstate the cultural influence that the kennedys had as a family. a lot of people sort of seeing this as the end of the jfk, rfk camelot brotherhood. so very symbolic moving on for the country. >> but isn't it something that a guy that got elected to the united states senate in the early 1960s -- >> 1962. >> in '62 is now in the top ten of the 21st century's most influential americans. >> okay. let's move on now and reveal 7 and 6. at number 7, secretary of state hillary clinton. hillary is full of firsts. at the turn of the century, she went from first lady to senator of new york. she then became the first serious female contender for president of the united states. and she is the first first lady to serve in a presidential cabinet.
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at number 6, alan greenspan. former chairman of the federal reserve. serving under four presidents. he's had a direct hand in the nation's economic ups and downs. since ending his term in 2006, greenspan has worked in the private sector as an adviser on economic issues and monetary policy. >> all right. willie, let's start with hillary clinton. a woman who we saw across the 2008 campaign really come into her own in a remarkable way. >> she's incredibly influential, obviously, as secretary of state. interesting to think about how much more influential she was supposed to be. remember, in 2008 in the early going she was the presumptive nominee. a lot of people thought she'd be the first female president of the united states. so she could have been even more influential than she already is. >> and she kept fighting, though. she got knocked down, she kept pulling herself up. i don't know if i've seen a more remarkable presidential campaign in quite some time. >> she was influence of course as secretary of state, but nothing showed her grit more than the night before new
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hampshire. >> we were there the night before the new hampshire campaign, and, mike, we'd gone to nashua, she was speaking in a high school and there we were in the back feeling sorry for her. because everybody had written her off. >> but i think part of her strength is exactly that. her tenacity. the reason for her influence is her tenacity. her strength over a long period of time. 1992, 1993 she was reviled by a large number of politicians over health care legislation, and here she is today, secretary of state. >> and who would have believed she would have pulled over so many independents and so many blue-collar workers, mika, dug this campaign? let's talk about alan greenspan. >> also on the list, alan greenspan. >> i think alan greenspan's gotten a bad rap because he's been criticized for doing exactly what ben bernanke's doing, which is making money as cheap as humanly possible. >> yeah. and his influence is partially negative too because of what has happened with the collapse of the american economy, the near collapse of the american
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economy, the collapse to many people, and his hand in it. and a lot of people think yeah, sure, he's influential, but alan, you should have paid more attention to what you were doing there for a while. >> willie, is that fair? >> his quote about irrational exuberance will ring true and perhaps symbolize the last decade on wall street. >> tell people about that. >> he talked about -- coming into this last decade, into the turn of the century, he said there was irrational exuberance on wall street, perhaps the beginning of the inflation of a bubble. he was of course correct about that. now many say he had a role in inflating the bubble. but he gave us at least the line that will perhaps stick to this decade. >> no doubt about it. now, what do we have straight ahead? >> all right. when we come back, we're going to reveal more of the top ten most influential americans of the 21st century so far. but, first, more quirky facts. >> i love quirky facts. willie, do you like quirky facts? >> those are the best kind. >> here they are. ♪
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bill gates was the first of the alpha geeks. >> he showed that you could drop out of school and come up with something amazing. >> it's difficult to go through a single day, even a single hour without being touched by an influence of bill gates. >> oh, my god. i love excel. >> microsoft's moment has really passed, and it has become a pretty humdrum company that still has this one powerful product, the operating system. >> bill gates has decided to give his money away in a highly public way. >> the gates foundation has been trying to really figure out and identify what are some of the biggest challenges that the world is facing and how exactly can we solve them. >> alan greenspan. he's the six flags guy, right? >> yeah. >> the guy that dances.
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>> he had a huge impact on what happened with the economy, both good and bad. >> i totally love alan greenspan. i know, no one ever says that. >> alan greenspan, described as the maestro, was considered the architect of america's unbroken prosperity for decades. >> he's in charge of the federal reserve. i mean, he sneezed, and world markets shivered. you know, how is that not sexy? oh, my god. that's my guy. >> alan greenspan is a jazz saxophonist. in the '50s. >> he was a jazz saxophonist. >> only a jazz saxophonist would go on to ruin the national economy. >> you found your view of the ideology was not right. >> precisely. >> he flew too close to the sun and then just came crashing down to earth. >> warren buffett is one of these guys who you can't help but love. >> warren buffett has built up one of the biggest companies in america. he's made it a point saying i'm going to buy companies i understand.
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>> people were investing in fiberoptics or dotcoms and here warren buffett comes up and says i'm going to invest in railroads. and guess what? it was a massive, massive success. >> people listen to him as if he's handing down the 10 commandments. and sometimes it feels like that's what he's doing. >> a lot of people don't know steve jobs, believe it or not. >> he's irreplaceable. he drives apple. he represents apple. he's the great marketer at apple. he's not the world's nicest guy. but he's making products like the iphone and the ipad that are game changers. there's no question about it. >> everyone knows who donald trump is, right? donald trump made working in business cool. >> the thing about donald trump is everything he does is always the best thing that's ever been done ever. and you have to admire that kind of confidence. >> well, i think i'm outspoken. i think i speak the truth. and i speak intelligently but also with common sense. >> donald trump? really? >> people hear me talking about
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how china is being rebuilt by our country because so many of our products are being made in china. >> he talks a lot. he gets on page six of the "new york post." >> he's big on tv with "celebrity apprentice," and he's kind of the face of money and more money and more money. >> he has a television program in which he yells at people. >> people watch, children watch, young people watch. >> he has an extraordinary hairpiece. >> the hair is great. i mean, literally, the hair, it's one hair. and it's fantastic. >> and just by mentioning donald trump, we have made this the best talking head blurb of this entire series. >> you know, so much of what they say about donald is true. everything that donald trump talks about that he's done is the best. and he believes it. and, by the way, it's a guy who's made a couple of billion dollars because of that. i saw last year in tv alone, in entertainment alone, the guy made 50, 60 million dollars. that's chump change for the donald.
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now he may want to be president. >> he knows how to sell. that is clear. i don't agree with his pageants. i've talked about that. but i know personally -- >> i've been a judge at the pageant. so i take personal offense to that. >> i know you have but i don't agree with that. but i for personal reasons know that he is a very kind man. >> would you like to elaborate on that? >> yeah, what are you talking about? we're all uncomfortable here. >> no, you shouldn't be. he's very kind. it's not something you'd think about at first with donald trump. you'd think selling, marketing, pageants, and other things. but he's also very kind. >> soft hands. >> very soft hands. warm heart. >> all right. >> anyway, we saw that alan greenspan made the cut. is anybody else -- any of these influential business names going to make our top ten? well, let's see. we told you 10 through 6, the bottom of the list. now let's reveal the top names. and we begin with numbers 5 and 4.
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at number 5 is bill gates. he was chairman and ceo of microsoft, but now one of the richest people in the world is spending most of his time as a philanthropist. he's also convincing other billionaires to do the same. number 4, former president bill clinton. clinton has one of the most active post-presidencies in history. since leaving office nearly a decade ago, clinton has been busy with philanthropic efforts and campaigning for several democrats, including his wife's presidential bid. >> all right. so bill gates and bill clinton. two bills. let's start with you. mike barnicle, do you agree with joe that bill gates's best days are behind him as a businessman? >> i do agree with joe. bill gates belongs on the list for the 20th century, but what has he done in this century other than give me an update every 30 seconds? every time i turn on computer, update your microsoft word. last century, fine. this century, no. >> i'm going to say, willie, i mean, seriously, you look at what he did with windows and -- i guess windows 95 and windows 98.
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nobody's talking about, hey, that windows spring 2004 really knocked my socks off. >> no. this is the century of steve jobs and mark zuckerberg. i agree with you. but you could make the case that through the bill and melinda gates foundation he's been incredibly influential, kind of set an example for businesspeople and for celebrities even to take care of the world once they have all their money. >> and no doubt about it. and mika especially one thing that we've seen on "morning joe" is the impact he's having on education. what they have done with the gates foundation on education reform is extraordinary. and maybe that's why he's not influencing business so much, because he's moved on. let's talk about bill clinton, though. willie geist. bill clinton, one of the most popular ex-presidents ever. who would have believed this in 1999 after he got impeached? >> who could have believed it? moving into the controversial election with gore and bush. but he's done a lot of what bill gates has done, go to africa, go to haiti. he's made it cool. along with people like angelina jolie and george clooney to give of yourself in a way that i don't think previous presidents have done. >> he's involved in everything. the clinton global initiative.
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he's running the haiti operation. the unsuccessful bid for the world cup, which of course he didn't bring home because he didn't bribe them. but the guy's involved in everything. >> and the political acuity that both he and his wife have, mike barnicle, could be very useful to this administration if they so choose to turn to bill clinton. >> so that's the question about bill clinton. i mean, i love the guy. but does he belong in the 21st century most influential or the 20th century? is he on the list of the 10 most influential because of his wife? >> i wonder, mike. you look at ted kennedy, who of course you knew and loved. you look at bill gates and bill clinton. could there be an argument that a lot of these are lifetime achievement awards for what happened last century? >> i agree. and they're both doing tremendously noble things, both bill gates and bill clinton, around the world. but -- >> you're just saying they don't have the power they once had. >> no, they don't. >> kind of like papelbon's right arm. it's not what it once was. >> he's lost a little velocity. >> we're going to return with more of the most influential
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americans of the 21st century. and we'll answer the question who would americans most like to have dinner with? but first we'll tell you how the poll was conducted. take it away, willie. >> how the poll was done. here goes. msnbc commissioned the folks at princeton research to conduct a series of polls to determine the most influential americans of the 21st century based on the -- calls went out to randomly selected americans. the public narrowed the list to 39 influential people. posters made another round of calls tabulated the data and came one america's top ten. >> that was impressive. >> good, right? a great life. but she has some dental issues she's not happy about. so i introduced jill to crest pro-health for life. selected for people over 50. pro-health for life is a toothpaste that defends against tender, inflamed gums, sensitivity and weak enamel. conditions people over 50 experience. crest pro-health for life.
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for a brief period of time president bush was a symbol to the entire country of bold courageous moral leadership. he was behind the invasion of afghanistan, which he pressed for and which was a massive success, at least in its early initial phases. >> our country was never loved, and we were loved for a short period of time until bush blew it. >> on paper iraq made a lot of sense. the challenge is we don't fight wars on paper. >> we attacked the wrong country. we attacked the wrong country. >> the wars in afghanistan and iraq did not help the country economically. the housing bubble finally blew up. >> he was able to put us in a war we didn't want.
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>> shame on you. >> was able to sell a tax cut that the american public didn't want. >> fool me, can't get fueled again. >> that's pretty influential, if you ask me. jackie robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, and barack obama broke the color barrier in 2008. >> it's pretty incredible the quick journey he made from relative obscurity to being one of the most powerful people in the world. >> and i'll execute. >> the office -- faithfully the office of president -- >> the office of president of the united states faithfully. >> now the health care bill is turning out to be a disaster. >> the problem is he hasn't done anything and the next day is he's done so much, he's insane. >> he's ruined this country. he's done both. nothing and everything. >> there's a perception he's made government bigger and at least in terms of the markets there's a perception that that's generally a bad thing. >> barack obama ran on change. well, it takes a long time to
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change things. >> but i think the jury is very much still out and i don't think we can really evaluate good or bad on his record quite yet. >> hillary clinton is one of the most influential, perhaps the most influential woman in america. >> she has the best belly laugh of anybody i know. [ laughter ] >> in the '90s, you couldn't get around the fact that she was the first lady and bill was the president. but then in 2000, of course, she ran for senate and started making a name for herself. >> hillary clinton was the first woman who was a serious, serious candidate for president of the united states and for lack of a better primary campaign, i believe would have been president of the united states. >> she is doggedly hard-working. and i think she's pragmatic in the way she thinks about the world. president clinton is one of the most talented politicians in an entire generation. >> bill clinton is one of those rare people that is able to really connect with a crowd, convey warmth and empathy, while
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also being the smartest guy in the room. >> here is somebody that is charismatic but also incredibly fallible. he has lied. he has cheated. >> not a single time. >> yet he is such a beloved figure in american history. >> bill clinton runs one of the biggest, most prestigious foundations in the world. the clinton global initiative. >> and he's cool. he's a cool dude. >> i don't know what the magic is that he has that, you know, he can absolutely, completely screw up and people still dig him. >> you know, a lot of names from the world of politics have made our list so far. will the top three be from that world as well? well, we'll see. but, first, before we reveal more names, our pollsters had some fun by asking americans to pick who they'd like to have dinner with. we have brought from price water -- what is it? weiss waterhouse? >> price waterhouse cooper.
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>> we have brought from price waterhouse cooper willie geist, who's been an accountant there for 47 years. willie, you've been protecting this list. it under lock and key. this is exciting. am i on the list? >> who's the most sought after dinner companion? >> hmm. >> number 10. >> yeah. >> colin powell. >> okay. >> number 9, warren buffett. >> okay. >> surprised? >> i don't know. he's got like billions and billions of dollars. maybe he'll tip you. >> number 8. >> like $300 million before he leaves the house. >> bill clinton. >> that would be good. >> that would be fun. >> hillary clinton, number 7. >> yeah. >> number 6, angelina jolie. >> for drinks, not dinner. >> drinks? >> drinks, not dinner. >> an after-dinner drink. >> maybe. >> maybe a quick drink. but i'd bring somebody else along. i wouldn't want to make conversation. what else you got? >> number 5. author of "decision points." george w. bush. >> let me tell you something. that guy, seriously, i was surprised the first time i met
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him. you put him up with a microphone and a teleprompter and he's lost. you get him one on one, he is charming. he emotes. he's charming. he's funny. >> he would be a great dinner guest. >> number 4, clint eastwood. i agree with that. yes. definitely. >> making us uncomfortable again, mika. who's 3? >> sarah palin. >> yes. >> no doubt about it. >> i think that would be fascinating. >> i think it would be a lot of fun. >> please. hide your fangs. >> wow, that's tough. >> number 2, oprah. >> oh, no doubt. >> of course. >> no-brainer. >> especially your house. you have dessert and then she says check under your seat. i would love that. >> travolta's flying you to australia. >> okay. and number 1, most sought after dinner companion. president barack obama. >> no doubt about it. >> i thought he was going with no. then he -- of course. of course i'm down with the
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president of the united states. no question. >> mike? >> yeah. but number 1? >> he would not be number one on your list. >> why not? >> of that list i'd rather have dinner with colin powell. i would think he'd give you a wider tapestry of the world. not -- i mean, obviously the president of the united states you'd have dinner with him but he wouldn't be number one on my list. >> he would be a fun guy too. what about you, willie? would barack obama be on the top of your list? >> no, i'd go charlie sheen because you know what's coming after dinner. it's going to be a big night. >> mika, what about you? would barack obama be number one for you? >> i'd just like to eat alone. thanks. quiet time. >> who's yours, joe? >> i mean, barack obama. he's president of the united states. fascinating guy. it would be a lot of fun. >> all right. we'll be back. >> if paul mccartney wasn't available. >> we'll be back. but first we asked our friends who they would want to have dinner with. >> i think the one person i'd
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love to have dinner with is tom brokaw. he's still one of the most respected authorities and respected voices in our journalistic dialogue. >> i would really love maya angelou to be there and maybe even madonna. i'd love to have like a really eclectic group of people there. >> well, i've had dinner with joe scarborough. but i never had dinner with mika brzezinski. so you know, joe eats very nice. none of the food gets on him. and i'm sure mika's probably very nice at the dinner table. >> i'd like to have dinner with angelina jolie. but like she can't bring her kids. i'd like to say that. no kids, jolie. and no stealing my husband. >> i'd like to have dinner with barack. and you know what? i'm so open-minded, michelle can come to dinner, too. it's not just him. i'd like to talk to her and figure out how she gets those arms. i'm very all about my first lady arms. >> i would not want to have dinner with barack obama. he seems like somebody who never drips on himself, and i do drip
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on myself. and i like to enjoy my food and i don't think i could in his presence. i'd rather eat with palin because i feel like i could just chow down and it wouldn't matter. >> some people are probably so mystified by sarah palin that they're dying to have dinner with her and just find out is there anything there. there are a lot of masochists out there. i'd just rather eat alone at a fast food place or something. copd makes it hard to breathe,
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>> in the era of reality tv, octomom captivated everyone's imagination and it was a guaranteed one-hit wonder, or eight-hit wonder. >> octomom. that was a brief, beautiful time. >> it was just like an oddity that everyone likes to talk about by the water cooler. doesn't she look like angelina? no, not really. >> she was not influential. >> i hate babies. >> joe the plumber became the ace in the hole of the mccain campaign, which wasn't much to rest the whole campaign on. >> my vote is going to be for a real american, john mccain. >> joe the plumber really represented a voice that wanted to be heard. >> especially when mccain gave a shout out at a rally. >> where's joe? is joe here with us today? >> turns out joe wasn't there. >> joe, i thought you were here today. >> he was fixing some toilet or something. >> mr. and mrs. salahi. >> it was like the real housewives of d.c. and they walked into the white house, which i think is really scary, that people can just crash the white house.
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>> we were invited. not crashers. >> i'm the only one that liked the salahis because i go to parties for a living to write a column and i have to rsvp and i still get there and my name's not on the list for some reason. i can't get in. they sailed right into a white house dinner. more power to them. >> we're revealing right now who the country feels are the most influential americans of the 21st century. and our list continues as we reveal america's picks for the number 3 and number 2 spots. >> at number 3 is oprah winfrey. in many ways oprah is a professional influencer. with the most successful talk show in television history, oprah's rags to riches story is the definition of the american dream. number 2 is former president george w. bush. his presidency was defined by the terror attack on september 11th, two wars, and the economy. the influence of his decisions will be felt for years to come. >> willie geist, anything oprah touches turns to gold.
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i don't care if it's books, if it's movies, whatever it is. i don't think there's anybody that comes close to having the influence in pop culture as oprah. >> she's influential by the very definition of the word. what she says goes with a huge portion of the country, as you said, books, products, movies, whatever it is. and she's one of the few people in the country who can still create a television event. it's so hard now. media's fractured with internet. you can't get people's attention. but oprah can create a television event with an interview. >> and i can tell you as her show winds to a close there are local affiliates across the country wondering what to do with the hole that will be left at 4:00 before their 5:00 p.m. newscasts because they depended on oprah for their ratings. >> that's easy. >> what's that? >> you just do a one-hour version of "way too early." rerun it there. >> i should have thought of that. >> let me save time for mike barnicle here. number 2, george w. bush. what do you think of that? >> i think he had a lot of influence. >> i've got to say, mike, i'm
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surprised he's not number 1. >> he is number 1. >> because we went for better or worse in bush's world. >> he is number 1. you are absolutely right. the world we live in now was heavily influenced by george w. bush's actions as president of the united states. he invaded iraq. his actions after september 11th what he did to pull the country together and what he did not do to urge the country to stay together for the months and years after september 11th, in my mind he is the single most influential figure. >> you know, he really is. >> the most of what this current president encounters today is a result of the previous president's actions. he's dealing with wars, and he's dealing with what's the biggest political issue right now? the bush tax cuts. >> seriously. the bush tax cuts, the bush wars, the bush deficits, the bush housing crisis. and, again, for better or worse. afghanistan, iraq. it is a remarkable amount of influence george bush had. >> so do you mean better or worse in terms of his legacy when history looks back at it?
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>> he failed miserably when it came to deficits. and, i'm sorry, nobody can judge what's going to happen in the middle east for another five, ten years. you have no idea how that's going to shake out. i was surprised he didn't say that he would have not gone to war if he'd known saddam had weapons of mass destruction, but that debate again continues. >> and his influence lingers as a result of those wars and the fact that no one, none of us were asked to pay for them. >> no doubt. >> we've got number 1 straight ahead. i'm excited. will somebody call casey kasem and tell him to phone home? we're counting down the hits, and we're coming to number 1. >> coming up, america's choice for the number 1 most influential american of the 21s century. and how did we do in our predictions? this is going to get ugly. >> yeah. no, doubt about it. willie also has a long-distance dedication that's going to really move you. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to the most influential americans of the 21st century. okay. it's a moment we've all been waiting for. time to reveal number 1. the number 1 most influential american of the 21st century is barack obama. our commander in chief. of course obama is the first african-american president in the nation's history. he passed historic health care legislation. but he's still trying to bring america out of two wars and the worst economy since the great depression. again, barack obama tops our list.
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and let's just be blunt. is he really the most influential american over the past decade? >> well, i actually have to agree with barnicle that i actually think that he hasn't had enough time to be that person. and that perhaps the preceding president did. >> you can say george w. bush's name, and it won't hurt. >> i can. >> willie geist, the world barack obama inherited and the world he still lives in is the world george w. bush helped create over the last decade. >> with due respect to the people we polled, george w. bush is the most influential. barack obama can become the most influential. we'll see with health care reform if it turns out the way he hopes it will, what happens in afghanistan and iraq. he could very well become the most influential. but he's not right now. >> but of course his legacy will always mark an incredible milestone in our nation's history, becoming the first african-american president. >> there's no doubt about it. mike barnicle, even if he loses in 2012, he still has had a
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remarkable, remarkable impact on this country. >> he has had a meteoric rise through the american story, his own history. his own personal history is interesting. the fact he is the first african-american president. all of that adds up i think in a lot of people's minds to making him the most influential. i don't think he has been the most influential. but in terms of measuring george bush's presidency 10, 20 years down the road, it's going to be equally interesting i think to measure the impact of barack obama's president, whether it's one term or two terms, 10 or 20 years down the road. >> no doubt about it. and i would have liked to have taken a poll at the end of the last century and asked how many americans believe we would have an african-american president in the next ten years. i would guess maybe about the same percent of people who think elvis is still alive. >> exactly. now it's time to reveal our picks. >> and mike barnicle, you picked the moses of red sox nation, the deliverer of the red sox, dave roberts. >> changed everything.
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dave roberts stole second base in the fourth game of the 2004 american league championship series, enabling the red sox to go on and win their first world championship. >> the world has not been the same since. roger ailes at number 5. and steve jobs at number 1. >> steve jobs has changed the way we listen to music, read books, and just communicate. >> what about you, willie, talk about your picks. >> i would love to. i didn't write them in any particular order. just threw them up there. couple i'm pointing to. jay-z. his influence on hip-hop culture, which has become pervasive out to the suburbs and across the country. and jon stewart i had up there at number 2. >> that's a fascinating selection because you make fun of certain people that are always talking about jon stewart and his influence, but you have him at number 2. why? >> it's undeniable the way he's influenced media. satire has been used to really go after the last decade. and also now to hold journalists accountable. >> i was going to say how fascinating the most of this past decade he held republicans accountable. he has turned his guns on democrats as well. mika. >> absolutely. >> what about your list?
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>> i'm surprised none of you put so far, at least, mike bloomberg on the list. you can start with what he's done in new york city. and i think the story isn't completely written on him either. >> no doubt about it. and you have tina fey on your list as well two exclamation points and a smiley face. >> i love her. that's all i have to say about tina fey. she's amazing. your list, joe. >> my list i think like a lot of us, steve jobs. i think no one person has changed america more than steve jobs. and i'm kind of tech heavy at the top. also the google guys at number 2. and nancy pelosi at number 10. nancy pelosi's had a rough run of it for the past couple of years, but she was america's first female speaker of the house, and i don't think the last chapter has been written on her yet. >> and you have roger ailes on the list. >> he has changed the media in a big way. >> all right. so who won? who had most of the people on the list? >> i don't know. >> i think it was me, actually. >> oh, my god.
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>> what a self-serving question. >> given the way we live, ben bernanke and hank paulson and the whole financial crisis, what they did during it, that's interesting, their absence from the polled list. >> yeah. no doubt about it. and how interesting that mika put obama as number 1. you were the only person that put the president as number 1. did you think this was like a fan club vote, or what? >> no, i thought it would be the conventional wisdom, first of all. but, secondly, i do think that what we witnessed when he won the presidency was something we never thought we would, and that carries influence and history, no matter how successful his presidency is. >> no doubt about it. it was transcendent. willie, it was transcendent. that night that he got elected, certainly culturally, politically, racially, in every way. >> we were there. there was no denying it. democrats, republicans, but now he's doing the hard work of actually governing, which has been quite a different thing for him. >> so mike, looking ahead to the next ten years, who do you think is going to be influencing us over the next decade?

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